What difference does it make if we have a category for our stages of consciousness? Aren’t people just going to do whatever they want anyway? What matters is how we live our lives, right? Questions like these are not really seeking an answer. Behind them is a mindset and life experience that is by many measures very progressive.
Postmoderns are inclusive and tolerant and forward thinking because they are the benefactors of previous generations who operated with self-discipline, structure, and orderly process. This stage of consciousness is comfortable with ambiguity but not specificity and thus has a short attention span. It doesn’t place a high value on the past and views authority as a captor rather than a mentor. It tends to reduce everything to its best part (like eating only the center of a cinnamon roll), then discards the rest.
We all recognize the stage of postmodernism, and Millennials unfairly wear this label as if it consciousness is exclusively generational. One reason so many in our culture have a postmodern consciousness is because they have outgrown the tribal, warrior, traditional, and scientific frameworks. These possess the valuable contribution of each stage and understands their deficiencies. For these people, their open minded acceptance of diversity and plurality comes from suffering under closed minds, or from struggling against institutional forces that seemed insurmountable. Their reductionism has taught them to separate the wheat from the chaff, the container from the contents. These are high level post moderns.
The other reason postmodernism is so prevalent is due to the generational juxtaposition of millennials. Many of our younger minds were given postmodernism by parents, teachers and institutions. Unlike their parents who have a traditional context and anchor points for their postmodern consciousness, many younger postmoderns have a “free floating” or situational compass that views true North as relative. This is why education has had to adapt and why mainline denominations are in decline. A relativist will always be suspect of rules, traditions, or practices that do not seem relevant to their immediate life.
Often the most transformative thing in the life of a postmodern is when they learn structure and disciplined practice. Frameworks are never successful when forced upon others, but a postmodern with a solid framework can be an unstoppable force. Remove true North and they are an uncontrollable force. The immature will not play by the rules and will only deconstruct them. The mature will use the greater rule of Love to determine if rules have benefitted humanity, and then reconstruct them for better outcomes. Because they are tolerant of anything but intolerance, the immature postmodern creates rules to organize people that are usually more severe than the strictest in the traditional stage.
Since postmodern consciousness is an integrated collective, it can be a challenge to pin it down. In fact, most people move in and out of this level of conscious awareness, proving that many are bouncing back and forth between lower and higher states of various stages.
For example, prior to the election, postmoderns assumed that the traditional stage and exclusive mindset of the traditional, conservative party was outdated and outgunned. This mindset also devalues traditional civic duties like voting and as a result only a fraction turned out to vote compared to previous elections. After losing the election they have doubled down their rigor on civic participation because now it is seen as vital, whereas in November it wasn’t.
Many of our worlds problems stem from the partial amalgamation of a postmodern consciousness. We’re watching the traditional or scientific stages push back against postmodernism by trying to assert a regressive path back to heavy handed, top down, unarguable compliance to the rules as the only cure. Ironically, those who have their feet firmly planted in a structure (law), are the ones who are able to transcend postmodernism. In this sense, the ruin of postmodernism will be a postmodern who gains structure or a traditionalist who gains an open mind. Both are also equally capable of regressing into chaos if they suppress the truth of their opposition.
The problems in our world then are the perfect opponent that we require if we are to rise up and grow into our potential. These problems are not despite our consciousness, but because of it and without the suffering they produce we would remain small and stuck. As we mature, we begin to see more clearly how love is the only thing possible of raising us up. Once again, Scripture points the way:
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Ask yourself if your team or tribe sounds anything like the above description.
Of course in order to live like this, something extraordinary must happen. We will visit this next week as we examine the highest (presently known) stage of consciousness.